Monday, November 23, 2015

From Ian:

Chief Rabbi of Brussels: There is no future for Jews in Europe
In the shadow of the Paris terror attacks that killed 130 people and as Belgian police sweep the country for terror suspects, the Chief Rabbi of Brussels said Monday that there is no future for Jews in Europe.
Rabbi Avraham Gigi spoke to Israeli radio station 103 FM about the atmosphere of fear in the Belgian capital that has been in a state of near lockdown for the past three days.
"There is a sense of fear in the streets, the Belgians understand that they too are targets of terror. Jews now pray in their homes [as opposed to at synagogues] and some of them are planning on emigrating," Gigi said.
"Since Shabbat the city has been paralyzed. The synagogues were closed, something which has not happened since World War Two. People are praying alone or are holding small minyanim [small prayer groups] at private homes. Schools and theaters are closed as are most large stores and public events are not permitted. We live in fear and wait for instructions from the police or the government," he said.
Gigi gave a breakdown of the Belgian Jewish population which he said numbered 50,000.
"There are 25,000 Jews in Brussels, 18,000 in Antwerp and the rest live in smaller places. There has been aliya to Israel as well as emigration to Canada and the US. People understand there is no future for Jews in Europe," he said.
‘Remaining and expanding’
Islamic State has lost around 20-25 percent of its holdings in the course of the last half year. But these losses are manageable. Indeed, the group has in recent weeks continued to expand in a western direction, across the desert to Palmyra and thence into Homs province in Syria. Why, then, embark on a path that risks the destruction of Islamic State at the hands of forces incomparably stronger than it? The answer is that Islamic State does not, like some other manifestations of political Islam in the region, combine vast strategic goals with a certain tactical patience and pragmatism. Rather, existing at the most extreme point of the Sunni Islamist continuum, it is a genuine apocalyptic cult. It has little interest in being left alone to create a model of Islamic governance according to its own lights, as its Western opponents had apparently hoped.
Its slogan is “baqiya wa tatamaddad” (remaining and expanding). The latter is as important an imperative as the former. Islamic State must constantly remain in motion and in kinetic action.
If this action results in Western half-measures and prevarication, then this will exemplify the weakness of the enemy to Islamic State supporters and spur further recruitment and further attacks. And if resolve and pushback is exhibited by the enemy, this, too, can be welcomed as part of the process intended to result in the final apocalyptic battles which are part of the Islamic State eschatology.
Because of this, allowing Islamic State to quietly fester in its Syrian and Iraqi domains is apparently not going to work.
The problem and consequent dilemma for Western policy-makers are that Islamic State is only a symptom, albeit a particularly virulent one, of a much larger malady. Were it not so, the matter of destroying a brutal, ramshackle entity in the badlands of Syria and Iraq would be fairly simple. A Western expeditionary force on the ground could achieve it in a matter of weeks and would presumably be welcomed by a grateful population.
This, however, is unlikely to be attempted, precisely because the real (but rarely stated) problem underlying Islamic State is the popularity and legitimacy of virulently anti-Western Sunni Islamist politics among the Sunni Arab populations of the area.
Finkelstein vs. Salaita: Battle of the Anti-Israel Professors
Norman Finkelstein, who is currently teaching at Sakarya University in Turkey after being denied tenure at DePaul University, has some choice words for Steven Salaita. The latter reached an $875,000 settlement with the University of Illinois (UI) in a lawsuit involving UI’s withdrawal of an offered position in its American Indian Studies Program due to his inflammatory, Israel-bashing tweets. Like Finkelstein, Salaita went on to teach in the Middle East, in this case at American University in Beirut (AUB). Neither is happy about it.
Ira Glunts asked Finkelstein to comment on Salaita’s settlement for the left-wing, anti-Israel website Dissident Voice, given that they are both, as he conspiratorially described it, “victim[s] of Jewish lobby pressure.” After declaring at the outset, “I am not a party-liner,” Finkelstein let loose:
I’ve read Salaita – or, let’s say, I’ve endeavored to read him. Even Google has yet to invent a translation program that makes coherent sense of his prose. . . . [I]n a rational world it would be cause for wonder how he got hired in the first place. It’s a telling commentary on the state of the humanities that his tweets got greater scrutiny than his (so-called) scholarship.
Finkelstein maintained that Salaita was hardly a victim, given his hefty settlement and the fact that he now holds “the prestigious Edward Said chair” at AUB:
That’s not bad for someone with a PhD from the University of Oklahoma who, before being hired to teach Native American Studies at an excellent second-tier university, last taught English composition at Virginia Tech.

JCPA: Terror Is Terror Is Terror
Iran keeps promoting its long-term strategic policy in Syria; it views the country as an integral component of its national security.
Russia, which has moved urgently to help Assad’s regime survive, has paid a heavy price with the downing of a Russian passenger plane by the Islamic State.
Iran is encouraged by several key regional and international developments, including Russia’s involvement in Syria, the beginning of the JCPOA nuclear agreement’s implementation, the first breaches in the sanctions, and by being cast as a regional actor that can help settle the region’s problems.
Iran is exploiting the West’s weakness, especially the United States’ fecklessness and lack of a clear policy on the Middle East’s future in general and on Assad’s in particular.
If terror is to be fought and soundly defeated, the struggle must be waged against all the terror organizations and the states that support them. Iran has already headed the list of terror-supporting states for years. It is now awarded the status of a partner in trying to settle the Syrian crisis.
The United States and the West continue to take an approach to terror that is unfocused, selective, and indulgent. They are no longer prepared to pay the price that is entailed in a resolute, hands-on struggle against terror.
The Vicar of Baghdad: 'I've looked through the Quran trying to find forgiveness... there isn’t any.'
And Isis? Can you hear their stories? Will they hear yours? White’s face falls. ‘It’s hard with them, because with Isis it is just about power. You see, these are Sunnis who felt that they had control once. Even under Saddam they had power and influence. And if you want power back, what do you do? You use force. If you can’t win democratically, you blow people up.’
But they’re so extreme, I say. All those civilians in Paris. All those children, and fellow Muslims. Aren’t Isis unusually evil?
Here White is out of step with liberal opinion. He agrees absolutely that Isis are uniquely horrible, but he thinks the problem of talking to them comes from within the Quran itself.
‘The trouble is a lack of forgiveness in Islam. I have looked through the Quran trying to find forgiveness… there isn’t any. If you find it, tell me. This makes it very difficult to talk to Isis because they can show you quite clearly that it is what Allah wants. They can justify their position when Allah says you should combat and fight the infidel and they say, “Well, these are infidels.” So the question is, how can you prove that these are not infidels? And you can’t.’
So what’s the answer, Canon White? Is it ground troops? In recent weeks he’s been quoted calling for boots on the ground. He’s a tough guy, for all his soft heart, and an admirer of the military.
The multiple opportunities France had to stop the ISIS attack on Paris
There were multiple chances to stop the men who attacked Paris.
In January, Turkish authorities detained one of the suicide bombers at Turkey's border and deported him to Belgium. Brahim Abdeslam, Turkish authorities told Belgian police at the time, had been "radicalized" and was suspected of wanting to join Islamic State in Syria, a Turkish security source told Reuters.
Yet during questioning in Belgium, Abdeslam denied any involvement with militants and was set free. So was his brother Salah - a decision that Belgian authorities say was based on scant evidence that either man had terrorist intentions.
On Nov. 13, Abdeslam blew himself up at Le Comptoir Voltaire bar in Paris, killing himself and wounding one other. Salah is also a suspect in the attacks, claimed by the Islamic State, and is now on the run.
In France, an "S" (State Security) file for people suspected of being a threat to national security had been issued on Ismail Omar Mostefai, who would detonate his explosive vest inside Paris' Bataclan concert hall. Mostefai, a Frenchman of Algerian descent, was placed on the list in 2010, French police sources say.
Turkish police also considered him a terror suspect with links to Islamic State. Ankara wrote to Paris about him in December 2014 and in June this year, a senior Turkish government official said. The warning went unheeded. Paris answered last week, after the attacks.
MEMRI: Responses In Iran To ISIS Attacks In Paris
Following last weekend's attacks in Paris by the Islamic State (ISIS), Iranian regime spokesmen, for the most part, argued that French and American support for takfiri terrorism and for ISIS was to blame for the events, and that the French are now paying the price for their government's misguided policy in Syria and the Middle East.
Khamenei-Produced Video On IRGC-Affiliated Website: The U.S. And Its Allies Are Behind Paris Attacks
A video produced by the office of Leader Khamenei, titled "Who Was Behind the Paris Attacks," and posted November 17, 2015 on a Facebook page affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), claimed that the real culprits behind the attacks were the U.S. and its allies, who, it said, had created ISIS and provided it with arms and training in order to further its own goals in the world.
The thumbnail preceding the video shows Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, U.S. President Obama, and ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi in collusion.

Subways, Schools Closed as Terrorized Brussels Remains in Lockdown
Mass transit in the subway system will remain shut down in the Belgian capital on Monday, as the city of Brussels remains at its highest alert.
Schools are also closed in the city due to the “serious and imminent” threat of a coordinated terrorist threat similar to that which took place in Paris just over a week ago.
Security officials have also recommended that sports events be canceled and shopping malls and commercial centers be closed as well.
Prime Minister Charles Michel, who chaired a national security council meeting on Sunday, told reporters at a news conference, “We fear an attack like that in Paris, with several individuals, with arms and explosives could launch an attack … perhaps even in several places.”
The city is home to more than one million residents, who have all been urged to avoid venues where crowds may gather – in short, most places in the European capital.
Nevertheless, the prime minister also asked Belgians to remain calm. “We urge the public not to give in to panic, to stay calm. We have taken the measures that are necessary,” he said.
Paris Muslims: Terrorists 'Not Muslim,' ISIS Is a 'Jewish Organization'
The interviews were conducted by author and founder of TheRebel Media, Ezra Levant, who traveled to France last week to glean an inside look into how Parisian Muslims feel in the wake of their city's recent tragedy. Levant, who traveled to one of Paris' Muslim neighborhoods, noted that the streets were lined almost exclusively with men.
Among those interviewed, some believe, or say they believe, that ISIS is a Jewish organization supported by greedy Americans in their quest to rob the Middle East of oil. They also said that the Jews are the ones who have invaded Syria. In every instance, those interviewed would not admit that the terrorists carrying out attacks across the globe are Muslim and insisted that Muslims "don't do this."
The video is a bit lengthy, but very much worth watching. The segment where Jews are cited as the true members of ISIS begins around the 4:00 and 6:00-minute marks and carries through for several minutes. Following that clip, Levant interviewed other Parisian-Muslims, some of whom were born and raised in France. Their sentiments of French patriotism and denouncement of ISIS were more encouraging, however, in all cases those interviewed refused to admit that Islam has anything at all to do with ISIS or terrorism.
At best, the interviews expose a depth of ignorance and depravity that is truly breathtaking in scope. They also expose an anti-Semitism so deep seated that those afflicted can no longer tell reality apart from fantasy. At worst, they reveal a group that knows the score, but are perfectly content to lie and conceal the truth. In reality, it is a combination of both.

Former Deputy FM: Let's not tell Europe 'we told you so'
Danny Ayalon, founder of the public advocacy organization "The Truth about Israel" and formerly Israel’s ambassador to the United States and Deputy Foreign Minister, told Arutz Sheva on Sunday he hopes the current wave of terrorism in Europe will take the European Union’s decision to label so-called “settlement products” off the agenda.
"Today European countries are beginning to ask questions. The Hungarians and Poles are asking ‘what nonsense are we dealing with when the real threats we face are here?’”, Ayalon said.
"I hope the issue of the ‘occupation’ and the settlements will gradually disappear from the agenda, that they will realize it's not a threat to Europe, but that Israel is a loyal partner in their security and the future of the West. It will happen slowly and in a natural internal process," he continued.
According to Ayalon, Israel should let the Europeans draw their conclusions alone.
S. African president links Paris attacks to Israeli-Palestinian conflict
The president of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, on Sunday drew a direct link between the November 13 terror attacks in Paris and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, arguing that terrorism, wherever it occurs, can be traced back to the Middle East and the absence of peace.
“The organized attacks in Paris have brought sharp focus onto the problem of global terrorism. Our continent has also been hit hard with ongoing attacks in Nigeria, sporadic attacks in Kenya and this weekend with attacks in Mali and the Cameroon,” Zuma told Jewish leaders in Johannesburg.
“All these attacks, wherever they occur, put the spotlight on the Middle East peace process,” he said. “It is difficult to imagine peace in the world without the achievement of peace in the Middle East. South Africa continues to contribute to attempts at finding peace in the Middle East especially with the age-old Palestinian-Israeli question.”
Muslim scholar who posted YouTube speech condemning Paris atrocities reveals he has received death threats from British-born children who support ISIS
The Muslim scholar who made an impassioned speech condemning the Paris attacks on YouTube has received death threats from ISIS' online supporters.
In the three minute video, which has been seen by tens of thousands of people, Mufassil Islam, 49, said: 'If you don't like this country, why the f*** did you come?'
He has now told MailOnline that he is being threatened by British youngsters.
Mr Islam said: 'I am getting death threats from British kids... British Bangladeshi kids, or Asian kids, they are born and bred here. They support ISIS.'
MEMRI: In Wake Of Russian Plane And Paris Attacks, Official Egyptian Media Decries Double Standards And Western 'Conspiracy'
The official Egyptian press expressed frustration and anger with these Western statements and with the security measures taken by foreign countries. The main brunt of its ire fell on the United Kingdom, since Prime Minister David Cameron had announced these measures during a state visit to the U.K. by President Sisi himself. Editorials in the Al-Ahram daily, the main organ of official opinion in Egypt, increasingly stepped up the tone against the U.K., warning of a full-scale conspiracy against Egypt and evoking the specter of Britain's imperial past. The conspiracy theme swept through much of the Egyptian press and received even sharper expression in other newspapers, as well as in some non-editorial opinion pieces in Al-Ahram, which accused the West of creating and using ISIS to undermine Arab countries; but the endorsement of the conspiracy theory – albeit a tamer version – in the editorials of Al-Ahram, the official paper of record, remained especially noteworthy.
The November 13, 2015 terror attacks in Paris added an additional dimension to this frustration. Alongside condemnation of the attacks, Al-Ahram asked why after the Russian plane incident, Cairo – unlike France – had been abandoned in its time of need.
BBC One fails to correct George Galloway’s lie about Israeli policy
Along with his guests Michael Portillo and Labour’s Liz Kendall, Andrew Neil sat in total silence as veteran anti-Israel activist Galloway opportunistically promoted the blatant lie that Israel employs a ‘shoot to kill’ policy to BBC audiences.
In addition to Neil’s failure to comply with BBC editorial guidelines on accuracy – which state “We should normally acknowledge serious factual errors and correct them quickly, clearly and appropriately” – by correcting the materially misleading claim from Galloway immediately after it was made, the BBC has further promoted that uncorrected clip for view by audiences who did not see the programme’s original broadcast.
Telegraph: Maybe A Caliphate Is Not Such A Bad Idea (Not Satire)
Supposedly the most right wing broadsheet in Britain has this afternoon called for the establishment of an Islamic “caliphate”. Democracy and the separation of church and state are folly, the Telegraph tells us, and the only way stop Muslim murdering is to create a theocratic dictatorship.
“Murderous extremists are exploiting the Muslim world’s vast desire for a true Caliphate. The best way to stop them is to build one”, touted the article, titled “What an alternative Islamic State looks like”.
Except, the column didn’t really explain how the proposed caliphate would substantially differ for the one we’re already got. It just needs to be exclusively to Sunni, said the Telegraph, and led by an Arab.
Sound familiar?
“Trying to eradicate [IS] with a secular doctrine would be as useless as trying to bomb it from the skies of Syria”, opines the piece.
Explaining that: “All pious Muslims well-read in the Hadith (the compiled sayings of the Prophet) firmly believe in the need to establish an Islamic State headed by a Muslim Caliph.”
We cover bomb attacks in Beirut too but you show less interest
I wasn’t in Beirut during last week’s bombing, but I was for one in November 2013 in which 23 people were killed – here’s my report, in case you missed it at the time.
I see that 80 people recommended my blog and video story while 29 retweeted it. Compare that to the response my colleague, Krishnan Guru-Murthy, got when he challenged the movie director, Quentin Tarantino, on the use of violence in his films: 3.52 million views on Youtube and rising.
It’s not that we don’t cover bomb attacks in Beirut and elsewhere, but sometimes the viewer shows less interest. Many are more interested in show business, celebrity and news closer to home.
At Channel 4 News we continue to report the war in Syria (I was just there – did you watch my reports?), the resulting refugee crisis (ditto) and events like the Al Shabaab attack in Garissa, in northern Kenya in April.
But sometimes I feel we’re howling in the dark because so few of you respond. That attack in Kenya, the most viewed story on the BBC website on Sunday, garnered considerably more interest last weekend than it did at the time.
I don’t think that the lives lost in Paris are more valuable than those lost in Beirut. I do think that the atrocities have different meanings, because it is relatively easy for Islamic State to bomb Lebanon whereas a huge attack in a European capital shows them to be a far more dangerous organisation than previously recognised.
New phone app 'Israel's Nightmare' educates users on Iranian missile capabilities
The new software educates users about Iran's long range and short range missile capabilities with specific details and photographs listed for specific weapons.
"This android application can be accessed free of charge and I do not seek any financial gains by designing this software," the app's creator, Arshia Badi, said.
Iran's Revolutionary Guard revealed in October an underground bunker in which it stores long-range ballistic missiles, Fars News Agency reported.
Footage of the underground missile bunker was aired on Iranian state television. According to Fars, a number of ballistic missiles were shown in the underground tunnel including a model with a range of 2,000 kilometers.
In Tehran, Putin ends ban on Iran nuclear cooperation
President Vladimir Putin on Monday eased restrictions on Russian companies working on Iranian enrichment sites, during his first visit to Tehran since 2007.
A decree Putin signed Monday enables Russian firms to help modify centrifuges at the Fordo enrichment site and help Tehran redesign its Arak heavy water reactor.
Russian companies can now also carry out activities linked to Iranian exports of enriched uranium of more than 300 kilograms in exchange for the supplies of natural uranium to Iran, the Kremlin decree said.
Under a historic July deal with world powers, Iran agreed to dramatically scale back its nuclear program, making it much more difficult for it to develop nuclear weapons.
Israeli Intelligence: Over 55 Iranians Killed Fighting in Syria
The Israeli intelligence community estimates that over 55 Iranians have died fighting for the regime of dictator Syrian Bashar al-Assad, a toll that has undermined domestic Iranian support for continued intervention in Syria, Reuters reported Friday.
Speaking to Reuters, a senior Israeli military officer cited Israeli intelligence findings that “55-plus” Iranian personnel had been killed in clashes with Syrian rebels, in addition to a Hezbollah death toll he put at between 1,000 and 2,000.
Tehran denies having any military forces in Syria, but says it has dispatched advisers to help Assad’s army fight “terrorist groups”. Hezbollah has not published a figure for its losses.
Israel’s Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said in a report that 53 Iranians, including elite troops and senior officers, had been killed in Syria as of Nov. 15.
Israel braces for annual UN bashing over Palestinians
The United Nations General Assembly was scheduled Monday to vote on a series of decisions condemning Israel for, among other things, its settlement policy, damaging the character of Jerusalem and bearing responsibility for the violence in the conflict with the Palestinians — but without recalling the recent spate of Palestinian terror attacks on Israelis.
The UN vote on decisions lambasting Israel is an annual event sponsored by the Palestinians and usually held on November 29, marked in the world body as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.
Since November 29 this year falls on a Sunday, and in the US, Thanksgiving is this coming Thursday, the UN voting session was brought forward to Monday, the Hebrew-language Ynet website reported.
Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations Danny Danon blasted the nature of the decisions, which generally contain no mention of any wrongdoing on the part of the Palestinians. According to Danon, there have been 174 terror attacks against Israelis by Palestinians in the past few weeks.
“Instead of condemning the Palestinians because of the terror, the incitement, the lies, the international community continues to give them discounts and prizes,” he told Ynet, referring to some of the UN motions that call for continued funding of Palestinian advocacy organizations.
First Day on the Job: Palestinian U.N. Mission Rejects Truth
On Veterans Day, the day set aside to honor the valiant soldiers who fought for freedom, liberty, and integrity, I started my first day researching and reporting on anti-Israel rhetoric at the United Nations. Talk about irony. I passed through the guarded gates, swiped my freshly printed ID card, and walked out to the courtyard to enter the main building. I was apprehensive to sit in on a meeting for the first time and did not know what to expect. Walking into the conference room I kept to myself and did not disclose to anyone that I was Jewish, or even more, Israeli. I glanced around the room to see the different countries that were to be represented. Amongst all the lit up blue signs placed around the tables one country caught my eye and my heart sank — Israel.
I started having memories of the first time I really learned about the the United Nations in depth with the former Ambassador to the United States and Deputy Foreign Minister of Israel, Danny Ayalon, who was a guest teacher at my school, and still serves as a constant mentor. Ambassador Ayalon, founded his own company called, The Truth About Israel, a not-for-profit social media channel to educate and train people about the true facts of Israel in today’s world via short videos, debates, and lectures. One video that greatly breaks down the foundations of the U.N. and how it discriminatorily acts toward Israel is The Truth About the U.N.

An Open Letter Deploring Hunter College’s Tolerance for Palestinian Incitement
My name is Inna Vernikov, and I am an alumna of CUNY Baruch College and a New York City attorney. As a former CUNY student, I am appalled by the events that took place on November 12 on the campus grounds of CUNY’s Hunter College. I am writing to you today in hopes that you will join me in my plight to hold Hunter College and City University of New York accountable for these events.
On November 12, 2015, a student protest titled “Million Student March,” was held throughout campuses of the City University of New York, calling for tuition-free education and cancellation of all student debt, amongst other demands.
At around 5:30 p.m., a large crowd of protesters gathered on the campus of Hunter College for the “Million Student March.” In a video captured by Fuel For Truth’s founder Joe Richards, members of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) are heard repeatedly yelling “F–k Zionists,” “Zionists out of Cuny,” and calling for Intifada — an armed uprising of Palestinians using terrorism and violence. The video ends with SJP students yelling, “There is only one solution, Intifada Revolution.”
Hunter College cannot allow this to stand.
The Boycott Israel movement scores another victory
The strategy is to call, as a preliminary step, for “monitoring” Israeli actions for hindering the right of Palestinians to an education, often citing freedom of movement and interventions of Israel security forces. They nowhere acknowledge the disruptions to Israeli education in the context of the missile war against on Israel or of the terrorist attacks motivated by ideologies that deny the right of the Jewish people to an independent state.
While alleging abuses, they ignore the reality that Palestinian universities were created only after 1967 during Israeli control and continue to develop and function while enjoying large numbers of visiting faculty and students from abroad, including the US.
With one-sided anecdotes they purport to claim a policy of purposeful disruption that does not exist.
The fact is many thousands of Israeli Palestinians study and teach at Israeli institutions, including the president of an Israeli college. Similarly, Palestinians from the PA collaborate with Israelis in education and research projects in health, agriculture and environmental problems as well as in attempts at political and historical dialogue. Even Hamas leaders send family members to Israeli university hospitals. Many Palestinians demand more of Israeli higher education and scientific expertise, not less, and certainly not boycott. Remarkably, all this cooperation is taking place at a time when hostilities are not merely verbal.
Why, then, should the AHA or other academic organizations arrogate to themselves what so many Palestinians manifestly do not support! The idea that the AHA should want or be capable of monitoring travel to and in Israel is bizarre.
NGO Monitor: BDS on American Campuses: SJP and its NGO Network
BDS (boycott, divestment & sanctions) campaigns on U.S. college campuses delegitimize Israel and are seen by many as “a contemporary manifestation of antisemitism” (Brandies University Report, 2015). Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) are the organization most directly responsible for creating a hostile campus environment saturated with anti-Israel events, BDS initiatives, and speakers.
This document reports on and analyzes the resources, both financial and non financial, for these anti-Israel BDS campaigns, highlighting two tiers of BDS activities: (1) SJP’s requisitions of student government funds on nine California campuses; and (2) the central role and allocation of major resources, by a network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), that support SJP and other BDS activists with financial assistance, training, and legal advice.
This report should be seen as a springboard for future research into SJP and its allies. Freedom of Information requests, where relevant, can help to shed light on the financial ties between various BDS-supporting groups and provide a clearer picture of the promotion of BDS on campuses throughout the United States.
Palestinians and Jesus: A Very Jewish Voice for Peace Hanukkah
At its core Hanukkah represents the struggle to remain Jewish in a non-Jewish world, a struggle we still face even today.
For 8 days we light candles, to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness.
This poses a quandary for the "proud to be ashamed to be Jewish" folk at Jewish voice for Peace. The Syrian-Greek ruler Antiochus took control of our land in 170 C.E. [BC] To celebrate Hanukkah would be to acknowledge an ancient Jewish presence in the land. Whats an anti-Zionist to do?
This, apparently.
From Jewish Voice for Peace
Join your favorite rad Jewish friends to celebrate liberation and maybe learn a little?
We'll light Shabbat AND Hanukkah candles, eat latkes and sufganiyot, talk about how we could reclaim the Hanukkah story for justice in Israel-Palestine. Also maybe we could talk about Jesus, another rad Jew that gets celebrated this time of year.
Israeli denied service by US car rental company — report
A senior executive of an Israeli multinational has claimed the Avis car rental company refused to issue him a vehicle, citing “company policy” not to accept Israeli drivers licenses. The rental company has denied any anti-Israel stance, saying the Israeli customer did not have the appropriate documentation and promising to investigate the allegations.
Dov Bergwerk told the New York Observer that he tried to pick up a car from a New York branch of the rental outfit on Saturday night, but was told that the company would not accept his Israeli documentation. He said a rental agent refused to even check his reservation despite telling her he had rented an Avis car using his Israeli license just two days earlier.
Bergwerk is a senior vice president for the Israeli pharmaceutical giant Teva and says he rents cars with Avis on a regular basis, even holding the company’s Wizard membership card.
Bergwerk says that a manager was called in after he had argued with the agent, but he backed up his employee and also refused to honor the reservation. A call to the company’s customer service proved fruitless when the manager said Berwerk was being refused service because he has argued about the way he was treated in front of other customers, and not because of his Israeli documents.
Bergwerk told the Observer that he felt the employees were discriminating against him because he was Israeli.
HuffPo: 8 of the Best Culinary Experiences in the Cultural Melting Pot of Israel
"There is no such thing as Israeli cuisine," said Chef Roy Sofer at the hip Italian Bindela Restaurant in Tel Aviv. Over the next ten days, every person I spoke to in Israel gave me a similar answer. Just like the U.S., Israel is a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. Everyone here is from someplace else, and they have brought along traditional ingredients, spices and cooking methods that have become part of the new Israeli gastronomy.
There are a few dishes that you can say are true to Israel, but most bear some resemblance to something you may have tasted in Italy, France, Spain, Russia, Poland, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Iraq, or Bulgaria. Israel's immigrant population has given way to a multinational restaurant scene. There is a wide range of sophisticated French and Italian bistros, casual American bars, as well as more sushi restaurants per capita (in Tel Aviv) than in any city in the world, including Tokyo.
Although half of this small country is a dessert [sic], Israel produces 95% of its food. With the availability of the finest quality of olives, dates, nuts, pomegranates, avocados, citrus fruits, high-yielding dairy, and a variety of fish from the Mediterranean Sea, eating has become the national pastime.
CNBC: Israel’s Lishtot is one of world’s hottest startups
Jerusalem-based startup Lishtot won a place on CNBC’s list of the 20 hottest startups of 2015 for its inexpensive, reusable green light/red light device that takes about two seconds to tell you if water is pure or contaminated.
“Lishtot products identify changes in water electromagnetic properties resulting from the presence of problematic materials in drinking water. Its TeStraw is a personal water-testing device that will allow anybody, from Manhattan to Kathmandu, to check their water for drinkability,” reads the entry.
“The organization has developed a mobile product, as well as an on-pipe monitoring device. The technology will give filtration assurance in real-time. The sensing systems show very high sensitivity and measures for heavy metals and problematic bacteria.”
The list is described as “a sampling of some of the hottest start-ups from around the globe that made the 2015 Startup Open competition’s list of 50 top contenders.” In September, Lishtot won first place in the Global Entrepreneurship Network’s StartUp Open 2015 competition for Israel.
Start-Up Nation: Israel's market reforms
Since I’m a big fan of the Laffer Curve, I’m always interested in real-world examples showing good results when governments reduce marginal tax rates on productive activity.
Heck, I’m equally interested in real-world results when governments do the wrong thing and increase tax burdens on work, saving, investment, and entrepreneurship (and, sadly, these examples are more common).
My goal, to be sure, isn’t to maximize revenue for politicians. Instead, I prefer the growth-maximizing point on the Laffer Curve.
In any event, my modest hope is that politicians will learn that higher tax rates lead to less taxable income. Whether taxable income falls by a lot or a little obviously depends on the specific circumstance. But in either case, I want policy makers to understand that there are negative economic effects.
Writing for Forbes, Jeremy Scott of Tax Notes analyzes the supply-side policies of Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu.
"Netanyahu…argued that the Laffer curve worked, and that his 2003 tax cuts had transformed Israel into a market economy and an engine of growth. …He pushed through controversial reforms… The top individual tax rate was cut from 64 percent to 44 percent, while corporate taxes were slashed from 36 percent to 18 percent.
New Israeli system protects planes from missile attack
Israeli defense electronics developer Elbit Systems has successfully completed a trial of its protection system against shoulder launched missiles.
Elbit systems' MUSIC family of Directed Infrared Countermeasure (DIRCM) systems, integrated with the advanced Passive Airborne Warning System (PAWS) IR based missile warning system, was successfully demonstrated on an Airbus C295 aircraft, it was reported Monday.
The demonstration took place in October, during a flight test at a Bundeswehr test site in Meppen, Germany.
During the tests, conducted by a multi-national NATO team, a C295 aircraft with an operationally installed Elbit EW self-protection suite, consisting of the DIRCM system and the PAWS, "successfully demonstrated the capability to detect, acquire, track and jam the trial test equipment on the ground, under extreme conditions," according to the report.
The initial assessment of the results indicated that the system has the capability to successfully jam MANPADS (infra- red, ground to air heat seeking Man-Portable Missiles) from the first, second and third generation, using generic NATO jam codes.
Israel Daily Picture: Bringing the Holy Land to America, Along with Mark Twain's Guide
As American interest in the Holy Land grew in the second half of the 19th Century, entrepreneurs and Bible scholars attempted to "re-create" the wondrously exotic land of the Bible in the United States. A huge scale model of the Holy Land from Mount Hebron to Be'er Sheba was constructed as "Palestine Park" in Lake Chautauqua, NY in 1874. A Middle East Pavilion was built in the 1893 World Exposition in Chicago. And the Old City of Jerusalem was recreated at the 1904 Louisiana Purchase World's Fair in St. Louis.
America Clamored for "Far-Away Moses," Mark Twain's Guide in the Holy Land
Mark Twain's account of his 1867 visit to the Middle East in "Innocents Abroad" launched his career as America's foremost storyteller. In his book he dubbed his quirky Turkish dragoman (guide) "Far-Away Moses" and elevated him to a legendary figure.
In 1870, Twain reported to his publisher, "I learn from Constantinople that the celebrated guide, 'Far-Away Moses' goes to the American Consulate & borrows my book to read the chapter about himself to English & Americans, & he sends me a beseeching request that I will forward a copy of that chapter to him -- he don't want (sic) the whole book, but only just that to use as an advertisement...."

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This blog may be a labor of love for me, but it takes a lot of effort, time and money. For over 14 years and 30,000 articles I have been providing accurate, original news that would have remained unnoticed. I've written hundreds of scoops and sometimes my reporting ends up making a real difference. I appreciate any donations you can give to keep this blog going.


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